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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 Feb;5(2):95-106.

Experimental approaches to the study of HIV-1 latency.

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Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 879 BRB 733 N. Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Viral latency is a reversibly non-productive state of infection that allows some viruses to evade host immune responses. As a consequence of its tropism for activated CD4(+) T cells, HIV-1 can establish latent infection in resting memory CD4(+) T cells, which are generated when activated CD4(+) T cells return to a quiescent state. Latent HIV-1 persists as a stably integrated but transcriptionally silent provirus. In this state, the virus is unaffected by immune responses or antiretroviral drugs, and this latent reservoir in resting CD4(+) T cells is a major barrier to curing the infection. Unfortunately, there is no simple assay to measure the number of latently infected cells in a patient, nor is there an entirely representative in vitro model in which to explore the molecular mechanisms of latency. This Review will consider current approaches to the analysis of HIV-1 latency both in vivo and in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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